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Old 04-17-2011
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Keel Repair- Help

Damaged my keel last summer navigating a channel at night. Looking for advice on how to go about repairing it. Im not sure how i should go about building up the section that is missing.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-17-2011
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Well Bryan--That's a lovely mess you've made.

Depending upon what's in the fore-lower part of the keel (I assume it isn't lead!), cut away the damaged glass and debris back to good material and grind the undamaged glass back at, roughly, a 12:1 ratio. Then, lay in high density closed cell foam in layers roughly 1/2" thick, epoxied in place. You can roughly shape each lamination before laying it in place and ahear each new layer to the last with epoxy. Use a couple of dabs of hot glue to hold subsequent layers in place until the epoxy kicks off. Then use a fine rasp create the final shape of the foam following that with a glass layup over the glass you've ground back at 12:1, above. Once you've got that all done and smoothed, lay on an epoxy barrier coat, paint the damned thing and go sailing. But! Don't go blundering around in the dark again. You got off cheap that last time. Maybe not so lucky the next...

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Old 04-18-2011
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Looks like you took a pretty good hit. If you haven't already done
a very close inspection of the inside of the hull for stress cracks,
de-lamination around the bulkheads or anywhere else, I suggest
you do so. Then fix the keel.

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Old 04-18-2011
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What I have done with a similar repair, is mix up a West epoxy/collidial silica batch and fill the hole as well as possible. Let set and repeat until you've built up the right shape. Paint and you will not be able to tell the difference.
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Old 04-18-2011
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There has to be lead there, too low not to be. I would suggest grinding it back to get a better look. Another option to fill it is Marine Tex, it will build up to a substantial thickness and is very hard when set up.
Make sure it is smoothed off to pretty much the shape you want before it sets up. Then you could apply some glass as suggested above.

Good luck
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Old 04-18-2011
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Slightly different approach.

Grind back the edges to reasonable bevel say three to one.

Use pink or blue even green urethane foam to make a female mould of the shape in two halves. an electric carving knife and some sandpaper will work.

Now cover the inside with parcel tape and tape the two halves together.

Mix up some epoxy and paint it on the mould and damaged area.

Mix up some more and add some colloidal silica until it is the consistancy of peanut butter. Goop it on making sure you have a little more than required. apply mould expect a little to squeeze out. Hold mould on somehow. Tape and wedges maybe.

When green trim off excess. Fill and fair. Antifoul.

Job done.

N.B. The charter company repair boys will do this sort of thing in a day! In some cases most days!

Last edited by TQA; 04-18-2011 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 04-18-2011
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Putting foam in the keel would seem to be illogical. Marine Tex would work, but you'd need $6000 worth of it. Slgfool & TQA have the right ideas. Grind it back, goop it up. There obviously wasn't any lead there. We've done the same thing, but it was much easier to simply hammer the lead back into shape and smooth goop over that.
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Old 04-18-2011
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Lead BB shot mixed with epoxy and thickened to cookie dough consistency . It wasn't a hollow keel was it?
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Old 04-18-2011
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Judging by some of the home repairs I've seen over the years, ball up some newspaper and press into place, hold with painters tape, skim a couple of layers of plaster over it.
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Old 04-18-2011
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Whatever is in there, and I assume you have ballast of some kind (cast lead, lead shot in resin. iron in cement or otherwise) the outer hull is what holds it in place. Along with the rest of the boat's centerline it is the strongest part of the boat with the thickest layup and the most layers of roving.

It would help if you stated what kind of boat it is.

I would grind it back to undamaged glass and then grind a 12-1 ratio taper as posted by svHyLyTe. I would only use epoxy and I would use biaxial roving and rebuild the keel to the original thickness of the structure.
As far as the void, it has to be filled with something that does not absorb moisture. I would call Gougeon (West Epoxy) tech support at 1-866-937-8797. It is toll free and they are very helpful. They will want to see pictures and can advise the best course of action for both filling the void and glassing over the damage.

I would a;so inspect the interior closely, bulkheads, any other structure glassed to the hull, and the top surface of the ballast cavity. Usually the top surface is not very thick and a hit like that could have compromised it.
Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
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